Taxes! Yuck. Right? Not too many people like to pay taxes, and so the government institution tasked with collecting taxes faces a pretty hefty hurdle in public popularity contests. Considering this, I think the Canada Revenue Agency actually does a pretty good job delivering on its mandate, putting out fires and keeping its reputation in check. Sure, they’ve had their share of issues. We know about them much like we know the banks have high rates of privacy issues, too, because they handle some of our most sensitive info. But after this week, I can personally vouch for a team of people who works in privacy that are doing their best.
I had the opportunity to provide privacy training to a team of folks who work in the privacy group, which is, interestingly, situated within the branch of the agency that is responsible for public affairs. It’s not that often that a communications group is also the one championing privacy.
The discussions we had were enlightening. The challenges faced by this massive government agency are numerous and complex. I think going through the CIPP/C course with them will help in tackling some of those challenges. They were already pretty well versed in public sector privacy issues, but getting a wider and more in-depth picture of what is happening in privacy should help guide them as they deal with privacy issues that pop up, as well as their own work down the road.
There were, of course, some common themes that came up in the training. The number one theme, not surprisingly, was how out of date much of our privacy legal landscape finds itself in these days. I expressed some optimism that it simply must get better soon because all signs point in that direction. My only doubt is whether or not we will tackle the tough questions in front of us within a year, two years, five years or ten. On that question, I just don’t know. If you work in privacy reform, please shoot me a note to give the rest of us a timeline on when we can expect things to move.
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